The spacecraft observed an explosion in the Earth’s magnetic field

The magnetic field around the Earth to create strong bursts of energy, accelerating the particles and feeding the lights that illuminate the polar skies. July 11, 2017, four of the spacecraft NASA was watching one of those explosions. The process that produces these bursts, called magnetic reconnection, in which a variety of plasma and associated magnetic fields interact, releasing energy. MSS satellites was launched in 2015 to explore places in which this process of reconnection.

A recently presented study showed that during the mission, the satellites found one of the places that reconnection on the night side of the Earth magnetic field that surrounds the planet long “magnetoroton”.

The explosion reconnection

“It’s a riddle, this process is called reconnection,” said the author of the research Roy Torbert from the University of new Hampshire. “The mission is exploring the fundamental and universal process in space.”

The process of reconnection is due to the fact that the plasma of the Sun, the gas of charged particles that hits the Earth and its magnetic field. Plasma of the Sun contains a magnetic field, represented as lines running through it, but these lines are in the other or opposite orientation relative to the magnetic field of the Earth. Magnetic field lines connect new lines, releasing energy.

The spacecraft MMS previously observed asymmetric reconnection events that occur on the sunlit side of the Earth where the solar wind interacts with Earth’s magnetic field. But on 11 July 2017 MMS first observed reconnection in magnetoplasma where there is a symmetric reconnection. The event produced a jet of electrons moving at the speed of 20,000 kilometers per hour. You these explosions directly, of course, will not see, but part of this energy nourishes the Aurora. And it is important to understand the process. This phenomenon occurs only in plasma, but plasma makes up most of the visible matter in the Universe.

The work was published in Science. Discuss it in our chat in Telegram.

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